Sunday, July 02, 2006

Hey Spencer,

I owe you $1 billion geek dollars.


Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Not Updating is 4 Nerds

Alright, let’s give this another shot.

Blogging is hard for me because I don't generally have a lot to say and I certainly don't relish the sound of my own voice (two necessary pre-requisites for any successful blogger).

Another hindrance to updating this site is the fact that I work with Spencer. Spencer is one of my best friends and we spend most of our time arguing about comics, playing VS, and trying to think of somebody who will play the Marvel Roleplaying Game with us. So most of the time when I have something I'm going to post, I just turn around and say "Hey Spencer, you know what sucks?" instead because that is way easier to do than log in to Blogger, type something up, and then agonize about whether or not it’s good, just to have Blogger lose it anyway. Nah’mean?

Plus, I'm pretty out of the loop. I switched to trades a while back and I don't really know what's going on anymore. At first it was weird to give up my heroin like comic habit, but I really feel good about the decision these days. It's kind of like giving up television (not that I'd know) because you can always catch up with anything that's really good on DVD. So if I do manage to update this site with any regularity it will probably just be about comics that nobody cares about.

All of that being said, I had two comic book related thoughts this weekend and I haven't talked to Spencer since I've had them so here they are:

First off, I finally finished reading Maus and all I can say is: Damn. That is one fine comic book.

It took me about six months to read because I finished Book 1 and was about to start Book 2 when I saw the dedication to his brother Richeu who had died in Book 1 and it just broke my heart. Up until then it had all been little comic book mice and it was sad and all, but it wasn't real. Seeing the real life picture of one of those little mice made everything that happened real in a way that works like The Painted Bird or Night or Schindler’s List just hadn't. It really fucked me up emotionally. So bad in fact, that it was months before I was able to pick the book back up.

In addition to the emotional impact, Maus is put together really well. It very self-referential and in many ways is about the process of creation as much as it’s a survivors story. There's a lot of meta story telling going on and I really liked how Spiegelman was able to switch between the telling of the story with his dad, and the creating of the comic book almost effortlessly.

Finally, I really admire the way Spiegelman doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to portraying himself or his father. Spiegelman is always trying to weasel out of any responsibility he might have for his aging father and Vladek is a miser, a racist, and a whiner as well as a holocaust survivor.

All in all, this was the best thing I’ve read in a very long time.

Hey, Here's a conversation I just had with myself inside my head:

Tony: Hey.
Me: What's up Dude?
Tony: This is old news fucktard. Nobody cares what you think about Maus. It was released a hundred years ago and it already won like the Nobel Prize for Excellence in a Graphic Novel or something. Everybody's already heard about it.
Me: Hey! I know it this is an old comic and that everybody's already read it, but I had a genuine emotional reaction to this book. You know how many times I've had a genuine emotional reaction to a piece of art? Like maybe 3 times.
Tony: Look dude, I know you had a moment or something, but I'm just saying you missed the boat. You're like Creed. You released a Pearl Jam record ten years after anyone cared. Everybody else is talking about Speakeasy or that whole Lea Hernandez/sexism thing. That's where all the good blogging is.
Me: Bro, Creed sold like a gazillion albums.
Tony: Yeah…to homos.
Me: Dude! You're such a dick sometimes!
Tony: Whatever. You should just back date this post to like 1989 and move on.
Me: Fine.

Moving On...

I was lying in bed with my wife and daughter (yeah, we do the whole family bed thing*) and I was trying to think of a single Neil Gaiman comic I've liked and I just couldn't come up with one. I've read a lot of Sandman trades and man, every one of them has been a snooze fest. Remember that cat issue? What was up with that? I know Spencer liked it, but he's a cat guy. I'm more of an exotic pet and a "I'm unique because I have a blank" kind of guy, so maybe it would have resonated more with me if it had been about chinchillas or ferrets or something. I don't know. And that whole Midsummer’s Night Dream issue with all the demons or aliens or whatever? The one that won the award that nobody has ever heard of. Yeah, that one sucked too and from a marketing standpoint I'm going to also deem it a failure. Why would you promote that something had a won an award that nobody knows about? I mean, I don't make any purchasing decisions based on how many Grammys an artist has won, and I've actually heard of those.

I like that Neil Gaiman has this whole Howard Stern impersonator thing going and I want to be down with the whole comics aren’t just for kids/this is serious fucking business crew and read all of the novels and get stoked on Mirrormask and everything, but I just can't think of a single comic he wrote that was any good.

So that's it. I don't know about you, but I feel like a good blogger would have included some pictures or something in this. This is my first post and already I feel inadequate.

*If you don’t have kids let me bring you up to speed. There are two ongoing arguments that change average well-mannered parents in to raging assholes of the Everybody Should Do Exactly What I Do Otherwise They’re Morons variety. Those arguments are:

-Breast Feeding vs. Formula
This one really brings out the animal in people. The breast milk people are way in the lead here and tend to say things like “studies show that kids that are breast fed do better in school, get better jobs, and will never end up in jail.” I have yet to find anybody who can actually prove any of this, including the OBGYNs and Pediatricians we’ve met with, but that doesn’t stop people from saying it with a lot of anger directed at whoever was stupid enough to say that using formula is no big deal.

-Family Bed vs. Letting the Kid Cry it Out
Tempers flare on both sides of this one and I do everything I can to avoid talking about this with other parents I’ve met. If you’re lucky enough to have one of those kids with no sleeping problems that started sleeping through the night at like 2 months than both groups will definitely hate you, as will I.